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Thomas Bond correspondence


Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]19 S. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Thomas Bond was an American physician and surgeon. He was born May 2, 1713, in Calvert County, Maryland. In 1751 he co-founded the Pennsylvania Hospital, the first medical facility in the American colonies, with Benjamin Franklin, and also volunteered his services there as both physician and teacher.

He began his medical training in Annapolis but traveled to Paris and England in 1738 to complete it. He returned to Philadelphia in 1739, and two years later was made Port Inspector for Contagious Diseases in that city. In 1743, he helped his long-time friend Benjamin Franklin establish the American Philosophical Society. Having formed a favorable opinion of British hospitals in the course of his studies, Bond began trying to raise funds in 1750 to establish a place of care for both the sick and the mentally ill, particularly for the poor. Unable to raise the funds himself, he turned to his friend Franklin, who had more success. Together they co-founded the Pennsylvania Hospital, which is located on Eighth and Pine Streets in Philadelphia.

Bond earned a high reputation as a surgeon, especially for amputations and bladder stone operations. Many patients traveled considerable distances (from as far away as Boston) to avail themselves of his surgical care. He performed the first lithotomy in the United States at Pennsylvania Hospital in October 1756 and developed a splint for fractures of the lower arm, known as a "Bond splint." In 1737, he was also one of seven physicians to publicly recommend inoculation against small pox. Thomas Bond also served as trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, where, in 1766, he began clinical lectures for the benefit of medical students. These formal lectures supplemented the bedside clinical instruction he conducted in the hospital. For his learning and pedagogy, he earned the title, "Father of Clinical Medicine." The alumni association of the Pennsylvania Hospital is today known as the Thomas Bond Society.

During the Revolutionary War, Bond helped to organize the medical department of the Continental Army. He established the first American field hospitals during the conflict. He was also a member of the local Committee of Safety during the war. He served as personal physician to Deborah Read, Benjamin Franklin's wife, and attended her during her final illness while Franklin was in France.

Thomas Bond was a Quaker. His first wife, Susannah Roberts, was the daughter of Edward Roberts, the mayor of Philadelphia. They married in 1735, and with her he had two children. He remarried after her early death and had seven children by Sarah Weyman, among whom was another Dr. Thomas Bond. Bond died March 26, 1784, in Phildelphia. He is buried in Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia.

From "Thomas Bond (physician)." Wikipedia. Accessed April 22, 2019.

This small collection consists of 4 items written by Thomas Bond, dating between 1741 and 1776, including a bill for medical service to Captain Thomas Freame and a letter recommending a Mr. Duffield to conduct a small pox incoculation campaign.

The first item is a bill to Captain Thomas Freame (son-in-law of William Penn) for various medical supplices and treatments for the years 1739 and 1740. Bond sent the bill to Freame on August 5, 1741, and it seems it was returned to him, with payment, on October 24, 1741.

The second and third items are pasted together at the edge. The letter to Reverend Andrew Hunter, dted "philadelphia, February 10, 1760," is a signed holograph recommending Mr. (Samuel?) Duffield to the addressee, to conduct a campaign of smallpox innoculation. The bill to John Lawrence is for "consultations & attendance to his shot Negroe, October 1, 1763, 1:14:0." It is receipted 30th July 1773 and signed by Benjamin Say.

The fourth item is letter to Mr. Owen Biddle, dated June 2, 1776, asking to purchase two pounds of gunpowder in order to remove an "Infectious Fever" from a workhouse.

Researchers should note that the edges of the papers are fragile and need to be handled with extra care.

Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Finding Aid Author
Chrissie Perella
Finding Aid Date
April 2019

Collection Inventory

Bill to Captain Thomas Freame, 1741.
Letter, Philadelphia, Pa., to the Rev. Andrew Hunter, Cohansey Creek, N.J., 1760 February 10.
Bill to John Lawrence, 1773 July 29.
Letter to Mr. Owen Biddle, 1776 June 2.

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